James Bond Fan Club news letter for March 2011

Dear colin

Newsletter                                                      March, 2011
Fiennes For Bond 23
It looks increasingly likely that respected stage and screen actor Ralph Fiennes will have a role in the new James Bond film. Fiennes was first mentioned as a possible participant in the new 007 adventure by Baz Bamigboye in his column in the Daily Mail on February 4, when it was reported that Fiennes had been approached because the role in mind (Bamigboye was told) 'is one of extreme complexity and only an actor of great ability and dexterity can take it on - and Ralph's name is top of our list'. A new report from Bamigboye in the same newspaper on March 25 appeared to confirm that Fiennes is now on board, and this has been backed up by reports in the industry press, such as Variety. Bamigboye wrote: 'As soon as he comes out of The Tempest, Fiennes will begin preparations for the new James Bond film, which begins shooting in December'. Fiennes is an old friend of Bond 23 director Sam Mendes, and anybody who remembers Fiennes's performances in films such as 'Schlindler's List' (1993), the Harry Potter series, and, more recently, in 'In Bruges' (2008), can have no doubt the actor is capable of a wide range of complex emotions on screen. Fiennes has also recently been behind the camera as a director. He helmed a new screen version of the Shakespeare's tragedy 'Coriolanus', in which he also took the lead role. The story was given a modern setting by Fiennes, and he used locations in Serbia and Montenegro. It was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February this year, and it will go on wider release later in 2011. Observers of the film at the Festival were struck by the gritty, realistic take given to the classic story, and also by Fiennes's powerful performance as the shaven-headed tragic hero of Rome. Interestingly, the screenplay for this new version of 'Coriolanus' was written by John Logan, who is one of the three writers on Bond 23.
Bond 23 to Start in November?
Press reports have claimed that Judi Dench, who will reprise her role as Bond's boss 'M' in Bond 23, has let slip that shooting on the new Bond adventure will actually start in November this year, not December as most commentators had previously believed. According to the Sunday Express (March 28), which is not the world's most reliable newspaper, Dame Judi was at a special rose-planting ceremony at Hever Castle, in Kent, and at one point said: 'I am going to do the next Bond in November. I don't know the location yet but hopefully it will be somewhere nice. I can't tell you much more but I do enjoy playing M as she is such a strong character. I like being bossy and my grandson thinks it's cool that I'm in Bond'. The ever-busy star of stage and film, who lives not far from Hever Castle, had just returned from Los Angeles, where she has been working on Clint Eastwood's next movie, a biopic of controversial FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover (who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Dame Judi had arrived in Los Angeles on February 2 after spending nine weeks in India shooting 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', a film about a group of British retirees, with Bill Nighy and Dame Maggie Smith. Dench will also pop up in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' in May, and will guest star in the London production of the musical 'Sondheim on Sondheim' later this year. Added to this, Judi will also hit the cinemas again this autumn when a new production of 'Jane Eyre' is released in the UK.
Mendes at the Odeon, Leicester Square
The director of Bond 23, Sam Mendes, was one of the guests at a special awards ceremony held at the famous Odeon, Leicester Square, in mid-March, the scene of numerous Bond film premieres in the past. The special evening on March 15 was held by 'First Light', which is currently headed by EON boss Barbara Broccoli. 'First Light' is a scheme that offers young people from all backgrounds the chance to work with film industry professionals in the UK, and is based on an idea originally floated by the director Alan Parker. Broccoli first became involved with 'First Light' six years ago, after a lunch with film producer David Puttnam, who has collaborated with his friend Parker on the scheme. 'First Light' are celebrating their 10 th Anniversary this year. The Odeon was filled with young people from around the UK who had made films under the auspices of the charitable scheme. Other guests at the Odeon ceremony included Bond music composer David Arnold, David Morrissey, Miranda Hart, Tasmin Greig and Noel Clark. The award presenter was Dougray Scott. Barbara Broccoli is passionate about the scheme. She told the Sunday Times on the eve of the ceremony: 'The talent is here - people really admire the craftsmanship and creativity that come out of this country'. She added: 'It's why my father came here and stayed. We need to keep on developing and nurturing the talent, or it will dry up'. It was also apparent from the interview that Bond 23 will indeed be based in Britain, and back at Pinewood Studios.
Ian Fleming and the Spy Who Didn't Love Him
Spy author and leading Bond historian Jeremy Duns helped fellow author Guy Walters tackle an incorrect version of Fleming history in February. Writing in the Daily Telegraph (February 25), Walters revealed that his friend Jeremy had stepped in to help him clarify the historical accuracy of some claims made in The Spy Who Loved, a new book by Clare Mulley, which tells the story of British secret agent Christine Granville, supposedly Churchill's favourite spy. Mulley had claimed that Granville was 'the inspiration for Vesper Lynd' in Ian Fleming's novel 'Casino Royale'. Publicity for the new book had even used a glowing quote attributed to Ian Fleming, which appeared to confirm this. There was also a strong hint that Fleming may have had an affair with Granville. However, as Walters recorded in his blog, these claims were easily demolished by some accurate research by Duns. Duns helped show that the new book, with its deliberately Bondesque title, made claims which were too good to be true and, moreover, were clearly designed to seduce the publishers into thinking they had a very hot property in their hands. Furthermore, Duns has written an article which persuasively demonstrates how the link between Granville and Fleming was entirely concocted by Donald McCormick in his 1993 book '17F: The Life of Ian Fleming'. Indeed, as far as Duns is concerned, McCormick (who did not have access to Ian Fleming's papers) set out to spread some deliberate falsehoods about the Bond author's life and career. In fact, McCormick was something of a serial hoaxer. You can read Duns' fascinating essay at:
Too Hot to Handle? The Lost Casino Royale Script
A few days later, Duns provided another interesting dimension on Bond history when he revealed that an early adaptation of Ian Fleming's first bond novel 'Casino Royale', written for the big screen in the early 1960s by Ben Hecht, the famous novelist and playwright, still exists, and has remained unread for many years. Writing in a special article for the Daily Telegraph's 'Seven' magazine (February 27), Duns said that he rediscovered the forgotten screenplay among the playwright's papers in the Newberry Library in Chicago. According to Duns, it was a relatively faithful and serious version of a screenplay written for producer Charles K. Feldman, who had originally purchased the film rights from Gregory Ratoff, and had tried to do a deal with Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli to film the novel, but they turned Feldman down. Hecht's version developed a story in which a renamed 'Colonel Chiffre' is the head of a SPECTRE operation to film major world leaders in compromising situations, and then blackmail them. In Duns' estimation, the screenplay put together by Hecht 'has all the glamour you would expect of a Bond film and several moments of fantasy - but it is essentially a suspense thriller, the violence brutal rather than cartoonish'. Sadly, Hecht died in April, 1964, and the original Hecht screenplay was rewritten by several other writers. Key elements in Hecht's version remained, but it became what Duns called the 'self-indulgent comedy' that emerged in 1967, starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, and a host of other stars.
Fleming's Flying Car: the Sequel
The writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, who took on the job of penning a sequel to Ian Fleming's famous children's story 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', gave various interviews to the UK media in March, including the BBC and to the Guardian newspaper. In the Guardian he also wrote a piece where he reflected on the experience of writing a follow-up to the now classic Fleming tale. Cottrell Boyce was commissioned by the Fleming family to pen the sequel, and he revealed that writing the new book 'gave me the chance to harness a potent pleasure that I couldn't generate myself: nostalgia'. He continued: 'It worked for Russell T. Grant when he took on Doctor Who and for Stephen Moffat when he set Sherlock in the present day. Obviously it would work for me. Except... the book was written by Ian Fleming and the film by Roald Dahl. They are two fairly tough acts to follow. Two men with expertise in violence and revenge - they had both worked as spies in the war. These are not the type of ghosts you want to upset'. However, he said his salvation turned out to be the car itself: he discovered that Ian Fleming had based his flying car on a real car, a series of four built by Count Louis Zborowski for racing at the famous Brooklands racing track in Surrey to try to break land speed records. Cottrell Boyce said that knowing the car had been based on a real car somehow freed him to play with the history of the car, 'real and imaginary', and gave him the idea of a modern-day family who find the car's engine in a scrap-yard and use it to soup up their camper van - not knowing that it is an engine with a mind of its own!
Bond Quizzed by 'M'
Bond was interrogated by 'M' in early March! Both Daniel Craig and Judi Dench lent their support to International Women's Day (March 8), with Daniel appearing in a startling new video film that was released in both the cinema and on the internet, and is designed to fight gender inequality. The short but powerful film was shot by artist and director Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Jane Goldman, and overseen by EON producer Barbara Broccoli. It featured Craig's Bond as you have never seen him before - dressed as a woman! While being quizzed by Judi Dench's 'M', he is given some damning statistics about the opposite sex and the lack of gender equality across the world. 'M' also comments: 'For someone with such a fondness for women, I wonder if you've ever considered what it means to be one?'. The JBIFC can reveal, however, that there is no truth to the rumour that Bond stole the clothes from Moneypenny when she was out of the office.
Shaken not Stirred
Daniel Craig's second Bond adventure, 'Quantum of Solace', received its UK terrestrial TV premiere when it was screened on ITV1 on March 26. Sadly, the days when Bond TV premieres were given extensive coverage in British TV listings magazines have long since gone. However, the film critic Barry Norman, writing in the BBC's Radio Times magazine, offered a short but interesting review of the movie to celebrate the ITV1 premiere. Barry argued: 'This is a film with an identity crisis. It's a Bond movie, of course, with Daniel Craig as 007. But judging from the screenplay and Marc Forster's direction it seems to have a secret yearning to belong to a different franchise, the Bourne trilogy - which is to say that it's largely a matter of violent, nonstop action with precious little time for dialogue'. Barry continued: 'Fine, if that's the kind of thing you like, but it has nothing to do with James Bond. He's not action man; he is, or should be, too smart and sophisticated for that, but here he does a lot and says little'. After briefly describing the plot, Barry concluded: 'Craig is good, the best Bond since Connery, and the action is fast and furious. But next time round, please, let's have the old, familiar and trusty formula'.
The Name's Blackwell, Chris Blackwell
In a little-noticed interview given in February to 'Luxx' magazine, a special supplement published by The Times newspaper, the Jamaica-based music producer Chris Blackwell, who is the owner of Fleming's former vial 'Goldeneye', offered some reflections on his own connections with the Bond phenomenon. As the son of a wealthy family who owned property in Jamaica, the young Christopher was able to mix with the like of Noel Coward, Ian Fleming, Errol Flynn and other members of the international jet set who were all friends with Blackwell's mother Blanche, who was something of a society beauty. Indeed, Blanche was Ian Fleming's secret mistress in Jamaica. Chris Blackwell recalled in the interview his own time working on the set of 'Dr. No' when it was shot in Jamaica (Ian Fleming had got him a job on the film), and how he used the money he was paid to help launch his career as a music producer, later setting up the highly successful company Island Records. When the Bond author died in 1964, Blanche looked after 'Goldeneye' for the Fleming family and, later in the 1970s, she asked her son to buy the property because she had such fond memories of the place and loved swimming there. In 1976, Blackwell tried to talk the singer Bob Marley (who Blackwell made famous) into purchasing the villa, and then decided to buy it himself. More recently, he has turned the estate into a holiday complex, but ensured that the unique surroundings and location of Fleming's house have been sensitively preserved. Blackwell said that he first met Sean Connery in Jamaica at the beginning of the filming of the first Bond film: 'A really fantastic man. It is exciting to think how huge the Bond films have become since; it was strange to meet him at the beginning of that. I was hoping he would come for the opening of Fleming International Airport, the new airport near Goldeneye. But he had a knee problem and said he didn't want to hobble into Jamaica'.
Dance into the Fire
While on the subject of Blackwell's 'Goldeneye' resort, the UK media reported in March that legendary singer Grace Jones, who played villain Max Zorin's athletic aid May Day in 'A View To A Kill' (1985), arrived as a guest at the recently re-opened hotel complex and was still there three months later! She could be seen propping up the bar in her cat-suit, visor and hat every night, full of energy and ready to party. Chris Blackwell commented: 'Grace is like family. She loves it here. She's truly a miracle, because what that girl has consumed - it's unbelievable. She's 62, and she still loves to show her butt and goes on stage half naked. Incredible'.
A View to a Thrill...
They were one of the most popular bands of the 1980s and have sold more than 80 million records worldwide. They also wrote the memorable title theme for Roger Moore's last Bond film 'A View To A Kill' in 1985, and their Eiffel Tower video exemplified how film tie-in promotional videos were used in the mid-1980s to market both pop bands and feature films, a radical trend which had become commonplace by the end of that decade. 'Duran Duran' recently celebrated over 30 years in the music industry with a special live performance recorded for the UK's ITV1 channel, called 'Duran Duran: One Night Only', which was broadcast on March 20. As well as performing songs from their latest album, 'All You Need Is Now', the band entertained the enthusiastic audience to some of the now classic tracks from their long career. And which song did they start their special evening with? Their 1985 Bond theme, of course! Great stuff.
...To a View of a Still
The band's 'All You Need Is Now' UK tour will last from May 18 to June 4, 2011. It will be interesting to see whether 'Duran Duran' use some of the stage backdrop material which they used on a previous UK tour in 2004, and which has a bit of a mystery attached to it. When the group started their big 2004 comeback tour in Britain, after a break of 18 years, the UK press carried brief reports that year of a long-running row which had apparently broken out between the actress Liz Hurley and members of the band. This disagreement was over an alternative video which had been shot to accompany their 'A View To A Kill' Bond track in 1985. The group had originally intended to employ a video that was very different from the Paris Eiffel Tower one they eventually used. Group member Nick Rhodes had made a film which allegedly starred the then-unknown young actress, and it showed her in a series of very fleeting sequences, including posing behind a shower curtain seductively. Twenty years later, the band used some stills and short clips from this alternative video when performing their 2004 comeback tour, as part of the backdrop on stage when they performed their Bond song. Fans who attended the 'Duran Duran' concerts commented that the actress certainly looked like Hurley, but they could not be sure. An un-named source told the Daily Telegraph in 2004: 'They have wanted to name Hurley as the mystery woman, but she's absolutely determined to stop them'. A spokesman for 'Duran Duran' also responded to the reports at the time: 'There was such a video, but I'm afraid I cannot comment further'. The mystery still stands today.
Did You Know?
It was not the first time that Liz Hurley (former girlfriend of Hugh Grant) was connected to the world of 007. For at least three of the Pierce Brosnan 007 films, various newspaper gossip columns had floated her name as a possible Bond woman. Moreover, in 1996, posing in iconic 1960s-style outfits, Hurley narrated a 42-minute documentary called 'The World of James Bond', a special promotional video made by MGM/UA to tie-in with the release of 'Goldeneye' on video. Hurley was also, of course, in the first Austin Powers film, Mike Myers' warm homage to the Bond and general spy cult of the 1960s.
Bond Bits: Brief News Items You May Have Missed
Gemma Arterton (agent Strawberry Fields in 'Quantum of Solace') was profiled in the Guardian newspaper's 'Weekend' supplement in January as she explored the popular holiday spot of Croatia. At one point she went island-hopping on a boat. She said: 'I once played a Bond Girl in an actual Bond film, but this was the most Bond moment in my life: lying bikini-clad at the front of the boat with the wind in my hair, and feeling very bad-ass to boot'...
In an article in the BBC's Radio Times in late January on 'Bright Young Things', the film critic Andrew Collins made a comparison between Gemma Arterton and the young actress Susannah York (who died recently), saying Gemma is at the same stage in her career as the young York was back in the 1960s: a rising star who is on the verge of big things to come in her acting career...
Bond star Daniel Craig could be seen wearing a special Omega watch in a series of eye-catching adverts in UK magazines in March. These were designed to promote the Omega Hour Vision Blue wristwatch. The Hour Vision Blue watch supports Orbis International and its Flying Eye Hospital, which leads the fight against preventable blindness in remote regions of the world...
Lack of casting news about Bond 23 caused a UK red tabloid in early March to cook up a story saying that Sir Anthony Hopkins will play a villain in the next 007 movie. An anonymous 'source' was quoted in The Sun newspaper as claiming that Sir Anthony would play a recurring Blofeld-like character. Needless to say, a few days later, while holding a press conference for his new demonic possession movie 'The Rite', the former Hannibal Lecter star was both surprised and bemused about the rumour. When he was told that it was a story that had appeared in a British tabloid, Sir Anthony suggested that people shouldn't 'believe anything they say'...
Two movies with former Bond girls in them were released on DVD in the UK in March: 'Made in Dagenham' (Paramount), part comedy and part melodrama, includes Rosamund Pike ('Die Another Day') in the cast, and 'Tamara Drew' (Momentum) stars Gemma Arterton ('Quantum of Solace') as a sexy young woman who returns to her old childhood haunts in a sleepy village and causes chaos among the local males...
A new two-part adaptation of 'Women in Love', the controversial but classic work of literature by D.H. Lawrence, began transmission in late March and included some former Bond stars in the cast. Rosamund Pike ('Die Another Day') played Gudrun Brangwen, while Rory Kinnear ('Quantum of Solace') played Rupert Birkin. Interestingly, the drama also starred Rachael Stirling, who is the daughter of Diana Rigg (OHMSS), and Ben Daniels, who once played the creator of James Bond in 'Ian Fleming: Bondmaker' (2005)...
Rosamund Pike is also in the upcoming and eagerly anticipated 'Johnny English Reborn', with Rowan Atkinson as the hapless secret agent from 'MI-7', and some new reports now say that none other than Pike's former 'Die Another Day' co-star Pierce Brosnan will also make a guest appearance in the movie...
Meanwhile, Diana Rigg will play Mrs. Higgins in G.B. Shaw's 'Pygmalion' at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End from May 12...
Samantha Bond (Miss Moneypenny in four Brosnan Bonds) appeared as Kate Cameron in the latest series of the murder drama 'Midsomer Murders', which started on ITV1 on March 23...
The musician and actor Goldie, who played 'The Bull', a villain in 'The World Is Not Enough' (1999), defied expectations a few years ago by coming second in a BBC reality TV show called Maestro. In a new but similar programme, 'Goldie's Band: By Royal Appointment', which was shown on BBC-2 on March 26, the former Bond heavy was seen scouring the country to form a band of musicians who have overcome misfortune. He helped mentor the group and prepare them to perform at Buckingham Palace...
The April, 2011, issue of Total Film (no. 178), which hit UK news-stands in March, carried a colourful two-page article proclaiming 'Bond is back', with a large still of Daniel Craig, and gave readers an update on the recent green-light being given for Bond 23. Although there was nothing new in the article for dedicated Bond fans, it was nice to see this kind of positive coverage back in the film magazines after all the uncertainty of recent years...
The legendary set designer Sir Ken Adam, who created many of the most famous and lavish sets on the early Bond movies, including the volcano set in 'You Only Live Twice' (1967), is to receive a special BAFTA tribute and belated 90 th birthday party to celebrate his extraordinary career in film design. The special evening will be supported by The Albert R. Broccoli and Dana Broccoli Foundation. Tributes will includes ones from Sir Michael Caine and Sir Roger Moore, as well as video tributes from other film production designers. The special event will take place on April 4...
JBIFC Membership

JBIFC Membership costs just £9.50 worldwide. We now also accept PayPal.

Membership entitles you to the following benefits:

  • Personalised membership card with unique ID number giving:

    Access to our encrypted 'Members' Only' area on the web site showing a large collection of articles, pictures and facts from the world of 007. New articles being added all the time.
  • Read KISS KISS BANG BANG magazine online.

    KKBB, The James Bond Journal has indepth articles on the world of James Bond, both literary and film.
    Now you can read it online or download a copy to your computer.

    New issues will be added to the Member's area as they become available.
  • As a member you will still be able to get a printed copy of KKBB if you prefer.

    As a member, these will cost only £2.00 each plus postage and packing. (The link to buy a printed copy is accessed from the Members Area, not the online store. Click on a magazine image and you will find the link to buy a printed copy is located at the bottom of the new page.)
  • Monthly emailed newsletter

    News and info from the world of 007
  • 10% Discount on all items in the JBIFC online store

    Membership entitles you to 10% discount off any item from our extensive range of officially licenced James Bond 007 merchandise
  • Special offers on other 'Bond' related items as and when available

    £9.50 per year worldwide    


KISS KISS BANG BANG magazine is now available individually for just £4.95 - Click here to buy now.
I'll be back next month any news, views or comments you may have - email me directly at:
Kind regards
David Black
The James Bond International Fan Club


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